Supply chain firm Gartner has stated that Unilever’s supply chain is the best in Europe following it’s five year revamp.
Neil Humphrey, former chairman of Unilever Supply Chain Company (USSCC), spoke at Gartner’s supply chain executive in conference in London last week, and suggested that the company wanted to put its supply chain ‘at the heart of Unilever’ while it tried to retain some market share, according to The Loadstar.
Unilever underwent a five year transformation project following the 2008 recession in a bid to counteract declining sales and falling margins. As part of the transformation, the company created a 20 percent reduction in trucking and saved around €1.1bn in cost savings.
Likewise the personal care giant offered a €750m cash contribution to the parent business and a 40 percent reduction in capital expenditure (capex).
According to Humphrey, “Our boss said we needed to radically change the entire system – supply chain wasn’t understood by the wider organisation, by sales and operations, by marketing teams – and was seen as a black box.
“And we had never really communicated or explained the importance of supply chain to the business, despite the fact that we had a really strong team that had hit every target for the five years since USCC was established,”
He continued, “The first step was to move away from traditional supply chain metrics – from 2006 to 2011 it had all been about reducing hundreds of millions of euros of cost and maintaining service levels.
“Instead, we developed four key goals: supply chain contribution to growth; improvement to margins; increasing capital efficiency; and delivering on the Unilever Sustainable Living Programme. For the last five years, we have been moving to a true business delivery and have been at the heart of the turnaround of the European business.”
The growth was said to assist the company in moving forward in its four main markets: toothpaste, home care, food products and refreshments.